A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…..
Actually this blog post is going to take place in this galaxy, and it is happening right now. The signature beginning to the Star Wars films is just one of the many recognizable parts of this saga. The Star Wars films can be described as some of the most famous movies ever made, and have inspired countless spinoffs, and our society is packed with references to these iconic movies. I saw my first Star Wars movie when I was very young, I saw New Hope while being babysat. I never really watched the original trilogy in order, but I have seen all of them multiple times at some point or another. I watched every edition of the new trilogy in order, at the movie theatre, and have watched them multiple times as well. While I didn’t have Star Wars lunch boxes or t-shirts, I did enjoy the movies a lot so I’m not a full-fledged fanboy, but I’m a definite fan.
Does anyone know the answer to why these movies were and are so popular? There isn’t really a way to measure their enormity, one way might be that the Star Wars wiki Wookieepedia has over 86,000 pages in it. My answer is that quite frankly, they are awesome movies! On IMDB the original trilogy averages an 8.6 rating, with New Hope and Empire Strikes Back getting an 8.8. That ranking puts the two movies at #11, in front of famed movies such as Rear Window, Forrest Gump, and Citizen Kane. These aren’t guilty pleasure fanboy movies, they’re about as mainstream as a movie can get. It’s surprisingly difficult to explain why a movie is awesome, especially these movies because so many people are able to poke holes in it (corny lines, sterotypical characters, etc). I’m going to attempt to explain why I think they’re so awesome now.
The Star Wars films have countless stereotypical character types throughout the movies, as discussed in the Gordon reading about Star Wars. He was spot-on with the young hero, beautiful princess, “black” villan, cocky cowboy, which all appear in these movies. They also have some corny lines and moments, yet we can’t get enough!
I believe that Star Wars gives off such a “cool” vibe with its setting that viewers aren’t tired by the often-used stereotypes. Instead of old metal swords, there are flashy lightsabers. Instead of planes or boats, there are X-Wings and the magnificent Milennium Falcon. The backdrop for so the films is also incredible. It covers so many possible settings, including some that would be impossible on Earth, such as Cloud City on the planet Bespin. Most environemtns are included, from the shivering cold of Hoth to the blistering desert heat on Tatooine. Tatooine is also known for having two suns, which is quite the sight for us Earthlings who only have one measly sun. Finally, the cuts from scene to scene are always done with a neat little wipe, something I associate with Star Wars, and a fantastic opening sequence involving a very cool-looking text crawl which is set against the stars.
As for the Jar-Jar-C3PO-R2-D2-Ewok dilemma, there are a number of things to consider. First of all, from the standpoint of an audience member, Jar-Jar is a pretty easy choice to get sacrificed, mainly because he is pretty annoying, although the Ewoks and even C3PO annoyed me at times throughout the saga.
However, in the real situation the choice is tougher. Let’s take it step by step. R2-D2 is definitely staying. He is incredibly useful, from its intelligence to its never-ending supply of useful things within its body. R2-D2 gets people out of jams, so I need him around. C3PO also is staying. He is also a very smart droid, and while he isn’t ideal to have to drag around in situations where speed is a necessity, he makes up for it with his brains and the fact that he’s the only one in the group who speaks English (apparently the universal language of the Galaxy) well. Now it’s Jar-Jar and the Ewok. While I respect the Ewoks and their incredibly primitive yet effective weaponry, I have to sacrifice it in this case. I believe while Jar Jar is quite annoying, he is very loyal and definitely the most athletic of the foursome. Meanwhile, I don’t think the Ewoks are as effective individually, and I also have concerns that the Ewok’s huge worship for C3PO could be a distraction down the line.
Star Wars is going to live on for a while, it is too relevant culuturally and still is in action today. While the movies are defunct, the countless products, spinoffs, and spoofs are still going strong. Overall, the Star Wars saga has kept its fame over almost 30 years, and I don’t see it fizzling out anytime soon. Unless the world ends in 2012.